Betting on the Orioles getting a bat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Forget what you read last night. The Winter Meetings actually begin today.

OK, it's fine to retain the information passed along on Sunday. The Orioles are searching for a hitter to plug into the middle of their lineup. It's most likely to come via a trade. Any free agent signings will be complementary. Nobody who will rock your baseball world.

Please stop talking about Josh Hamilton, unless you really get a kick out of doing it. Just know that he's not going to be playing for the Orioles.

First baseman James Loney is off the board. He reportedly has agreed to terms with the Rays. Not that the Orioles were targeting him, but it reduces the potential for rumors.

I fully expect the Orioles to leave here with a new first baseman/designated hitter or left fielder. If it doesn't happen in Nashville, the deal will be consummated shortly after team officials return home. But I think the Orioles are going to the podium here.

They will have to give up pitching to make it happen, and they're willing to do so. Executive vice president Dan Duquette hinted at it again last night. Rival executives believe the Orioles have a surplus. More starters than slots.

It's been a long time since the Orioles were in this position.

I have no idea whether Nationals first baseman/left fielder Michael Morse is on the Orioles' radar, but Washington is willing to move him, and one industry source believes it makes sense for Duquette. Of course, the Nats need to re-sign Adam LaRoche to make Morse expendable, and the source believes it will happen in Nashville.

Also, Morse is a free agent after the 2013 season. How much do you give up without negotiating a contract extension?

Jake Arrieta is one pitcher who intrigues the Nationals, though it would take more to pry away Morse, who has the power and plays the right positions to interest the Orioles.

Stay tuned.

Note: We have a change in the Orioles' spring training schedule.

The Brazil WBC team will now be playing its first round games in Japan instead of Puerto Rico and will train there. Spain will now be playing its first round games in Puerto Rico and train in Florida, which makes it the new opponent for the Orioles on March 6 in Sarasota.

Plan accordingly.

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